Secret City film on inner workings of City of London comes to Bristol

Issue date: 15 October 2012

The film Secret City, which unveils how the City of London works, will be shown at Bristol's Watershed on Saturday 15 December at 13.00pm. To book tickets visit the Watershed website

The film was premiered in October at the House of Commons. Other screening dates are listed on the film's website.

Secret City, directed by Michael Chanan, Professor of Film and Video University of Roehampton Lecturer and written by Lee Salter, Senior Lecturer in Journalism at UWE Bristol, uncovers the hidden history of the institutions at the heart of the economic crisis.

Secret City looks at the Corporation's complex relations with Parliament, the Monarchy, the Church, Greater London and the global economy, through contributions from Londoners, including scholars, an MP, a businessman, Church people and activists.

Participants include Lord Glasman, John McDonnell MP, the Reverends William Taylor from Stamford Hill and Alan Green of Bethnal Green, Natalie Bennett, Malcolm Matson, Occupy activists, and Professors Doreen Massey, Robin Blackburn, Steven Haseler and Clive Bloom.

Over the past five years the economic crisis has focused attention on capitalism and its failings to a degree not seen for decades. Exposing the inner workings of the City of London and its ancient government, the Corporation of London, the film reveals how it resists democratisation, how it has worked to become the predominant force in global capitalism, and the City's relation to the metropolis in which it lies embedded.

Director Michael Chanan said, “There's been a lot of attention to London in the media recently, but not so much to the square mile in the middle which Clement Attlee called 'another power than that which has its seat at Westminster'. I'm a Londoner born and bred, but like most of us, I grew up knowing very little about the stuff we've uncovered in making this film. But the film isn't just for Londoners—since the City is the central institution of global capitalism, everyone's affected."

Editor's notes

Secret City

Written by Lee Salter Directed by Michael Chanan 2012, 72mins

Michael Chanan is a seasoned documentarist (BBC2, C4 and numerous independent productions) and Professor of Film and Video at the University of Roehampton. In 2011 he became the New Statesman's first video blogger. His full-length documentary, Chronicle of Protest, compiled from these blogs, was described by Sight & Sound as 'Intelligent and highly watchable', while the film critic Ryan Gilbey wrote that 'Through some nifty editing and lucid rhetoric, the connections between the actions of the coalition and the hardships imposed on communities become transparent.'

Lee Salter is Senior Lecturer in Journalism at UWE Bristol. His interest in the Corporation of London began in 2002 when the Corporation introduced an electoral reform bill into the House of Lords. He worked as a legal and political researcher with Lord Glasman, Rev William Taylor and John McDonnell MP to petition the bill. He has maintained a research interest in the City Corporation, its history and constitution ever since, most recently working with the Reclaim the City movement, which aims to consider reform of the Corporation.

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